Stephen Hahn Confirmed as FDA Commissioner

The Senate voted 72−18 to confirm Stephen Hahn, MD, as FDA commissioner. President Donald Trump nominated Dr. Hahn, an oncologist and chief medical executive at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, to replace Scott Gottlieb, MD, who resigned in the spring.

With this confirmation, Dr. Hahn has become the fourth FDA commissioner in less than a year. After Dr. Gottlieb’s departure in April, Ned Sharpless, MD, stepped in as acting commissioner. Last month, when Dr. Sharpless returned to his previous position as director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), he was succeeded by acting commissioner Brett Giroir, MD, a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Prior to the vote, Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Dr. Hahn is “exactly the type of nominee” that should lead the FDA, based on his research and management experience. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who voted against the nomination, has concerns about Dr. Hahn’s refusal “to commit to implementing a strong policy to clear nontobacco e-cigarettes” from the market, a measure to help reduce teenage vaping.

Sources: The New York Times, December 12, 2019; The Washington Post, December 3, 2019.